Wednesday, December 5, 2012

COJUHARENCO Irina, CORNELISSEN Gert, KARELAIA Natalia
“Yes, we can!”: Self-construal, Perceived Ability to Make a Difference, and Socially Responsible Behavior
INSEAD Working Paper 2012/126/DS revised version of 2011/115/DS

We suggest that an individual’s self-construal—how people view themselves in terms of connectedness to versus separateness from others—affects perceived effectiveness of individual action targeted at large scale societal outcomes, and by doing so, ultimately affects socially responsible behavior. Study 1 demonstrated that increasing the prominence of the interdependent self raises perceived effectiveness of individual action to the level of perceived effectiveness of collective action. Study 2 showed that the prominence of the interdependent self relates positively to the effort exerted for a social cause. In Study 3, we showed experimentally that the perceived effectiveness of individual action mediates the effect of self-construal on financial contributions participants make for a social cause. Study 4 tested the mediation model using survey data on recycling and environmentally conscious consumption. We discuss the implications of our findings for research on socially responsible behavior.